Some Tourists Find Luck in the Caribbean with Covid-19 Vaccine
This increase has been aided by the proven fact that since March 1, everybody over 16 has been eligible to get the vaccine in the Virgin Islands — so vacationers don’t even have to fret about slicing in line. The territory accommodates about 100 walk-ins every day, too. “Nowhere else in the U.S. are you able to truly simply stroll in and get the vaccine, anyone over 16,” Mr. Bryan stated on Monday. On March 1, the islands additionally opened two federally supported neighborhood vaccination facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
U.S. vacationers additionally face much less crimson tape when visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands in contrast with different Caribbean locations. In the event that they submit a destructive coronavirus take a look at inside 5 days of leaving for the territory, or a optimistic antibody take a look at taken inside 4 months, they don’t have to quarantine upon arrival. Vacationers to Jamaica and Barbados, in distinction, are requested to quarantine it doesn’t matter what. And U.S. vacationers can’t go to the Cayman Islands except they conform to strict eligibility standards.
Dr. Hunte-Ceasar stated that, at this level, the Division of Well being didn’t contemplate vaccine tourism to be an issue. “We undoubtedly wish to guarantee the native residents get vaccinated,” she stated. However “we’ve not had any shortages by serving each populations.” The Virgin Islands presently have 27,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 18,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out there, stated Monife Stout, the division’s immunization director.
Noreen Michael, a scientist at the College of the Virgin Islands who research well being disparities, agreed that it was essential to make sure that vaccines can be found to residents who need them, however stated she had not seen proof to recommend that vacationers are taking vaccines away from residents who need them. “On the public well being facet, it’s a plus,” she stated. “On the fairness facet, I don’t see it as important situation.”
Maybe, too, vaccine tourism may very well be used as a pressure for good — to safe doses for marginalized teams in different areas. Though the Virgin Islands present free Covid-19 vaccines, the islands may cost vacationers for his or her vaccines, and the funds may very well be used to ship vaccines to areas that want them, stated Felicia Knaul, a global well being economist at the College of Miami. “Might we ship these vaccines to Jamaica, or to the Dominican Republic or Haiti?” she requested. “When you’ve gotten previous the key welfare and human rights points, if you need to use that funding to pay for individuals who proper now haven’t any entry, I believe it’s price enthusiastic about.”
For now, well being authorities are targeted on methods to scale back vaccine hesitancy in the territory. “Individuals entry misinformation and perpetuate lies and issues which can be dangerous,” Dr. Hunte-Ceasar stated in a information convention final week. Because of this, the islands have been experiencing a surge in circumstances and hospitalizations that she stated give her “chest ache and heartburn each evening.” Though vaccine hesitancy does appear to be lowering, residents might want to begin broadly embracing the vaccine if the islands are to fulfill their purpose of vaccinating 50,000 Virgin Islanders by July 1.
In the meantime, guests from the continental U.S. will proceed to make the most of the additional doses. Some have stayed longer than they deliberate, too — and have even contemplated transferring to the islands for good.
“I began falling in love with the tradition of St. Croix,” stated Hemal Trivedi, a documentary filmmaker who lives in Weehawken, N.J., and was vaccinated in St. Croix in February. “Towards the finish of the journey, we have been truly on the lookout for a spot to purchase.”
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